Scenic byways plans kiosks at mammoth site
|A site will be chosen to install interpretive kiosks describing the mammoth discovery at Huntington Reservoir.|
Information kiosks will be constructed at the site of the mammoth find in Huntington Canyon according to Jana Abrams, scenic byway coordinator. They are currently working with the forest service on a grant which will allow the five information panels to be placed near the site of the mammoth find. There will also be a hands on display for children. The panels will include facts about mammoth and also recall the events surrounding the find. The kiosk will be in place for the tourist season of 2006 and will be listed on all literature concerning the scenic byways of Huntington and Eccles canyons.
Abrams told of other tourism projects she is working on which include beginning a 5 or 10 k run next summer for Huntington Canyon and promoting senior citizen tourism during the month of September. "It's amazing how much more money tourists can drop into the economy is they just stay half a day more in the communities. We are working on a map of Huntington canyon that is easy to read. We want to educate people on the front lines and when tourists stop into a gas station or convenience store, they will be able to hand out maps and let people know what there is to do in our communities. The governor has set aside $10 million to develop tourism. We are placing a sign one mile outside of Fairview advertising the scenic byway."
Commissioner Ira Hatch pointed out that Huntington Canyon is more than a summer retreat with winter activities like snowmobiling, snowboarders and winter sports being very popular in the canyon. He said most of the people approach the canyon from Fairview and they stand to benefit more from the promotion of the byway than Emery County. He suggested approaching Sanpete County and enlisting their support in tourist projects.
John Spendlove from Jones and Demile was on hand to present the final airport plan to the commission. Commissioner Hatch explained that the plan was essential to qualify for any federal funding for airport improvements. He said the plan is the same as he presented in January in a public meeting with a few additions. "After the public meeting I sent letters to all of the agencies to gather comments on any environmental concerns they might have," said Spendlove.
He said the Bureau of Land Mangement said a cultural resource survey should be completed before any future projects are done at the airport. The Fish and Wildlife Service sent a standard letter indicating the threatened and endangered species normally encountered in Emery County. The Army Corp. of Engineers sent a letter wondering about the potential for wetlands.
Commissioner Hatch said there is a canal running through the airport and he didn't see much potential for wetlands, but if an airport extension is done then a field review should be completed on the wetlands question.
Spendlove said he has added an environmental overview to the final airport plan to address those areas and added $20,000 to the project list to account for the cost of the environmental reviews.
Commissioner Gary Kofford pointed out if the BLM gives a patent to the county for the airport land, then a resource survey would be needed before the BLM would issue the patent. The BLM wanted to address the patent issue in the resource management plan they are now finalizing. Emery County owns 13 acres of the airport land with the rest being BLM with some state trustland included.
Economic Development Director, Mike McCandless said the airport is currently zoned agriculture and he is working to prepare papers to send to the state to rezone the property to a state aeronautical zone which would allow an aeronautic based company to receive tax incentives to locate in the zone.
Commissioner Hatch said the commission can pick and choose the projects to do first from the priority list. Commissioner Hatch signed the papers to approve the final airport plan.
The commission approved a tax abatement for some property Castle Dale City purchased to expand the cemetery. The commission approved $300 for dues to the Emery County Chamber of Commerce.
Under citizen concerns, Mary Wilmarth wondered how the John Wesley Powell River Museum was going to be funded. Commissioner Hatch said they had made a decision in the travel bureau meeting to allow the travel bureau and Green River City to work out an agreement for the operation of the museum. County Attorney Dave Blackwell has prepared an interlocal agreement which will need to be signed.
Commissioner Hatch said two part-time employees will be hired to man the information center at the museum.
The commission approved the contribution rates to the state retirement fund for July 1, to June, 30, 2006. They also approved the tax rate sent down by the Utah State Tax Commission of .003627. Clerk Bruce Funk said this rate often changes several times before the state finalizes the figure so to make a motion which takes into consideration any future changes in the tax rate.
It was also reported that the centrally assessed property taxes are down this year by $14 million.
The dates for the board of equalization were approved for Aug. 16 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in Green River and on Aug. 17 in Castle Dale from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Emery County has received an easement from SITLA for Emery County to construct or repair the road alignment on the South Flat Road, south of Huntington. The bureau of reclamation changed the location of a bridge a few years back and the road needed to be realigned with the bridge, and the work was completed. The state kept sending bills to charge a use fee on the road changes and the county kept sending the bills back. Now an easement was sent without a bill allowing the approval on easement, but they had the road number incorrectly listed as number 308, but it is number 504 on the county system. Road department director, Rex Funk will sign the papers required.
A business license was approved for VK Hobby Tractor and Implements in Elmo.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud talked about possible boundary changes for the justice courts. He said the Utah Highway Patrol Troopers aren't writing enough tickets on I-70. On average they only write four tickets a day. When the county deputies patrolled I-70 they were writing three times that many tickets. Commissioner Sitterud has asked Sheriff Lamar Guymon to put together a proposal on what it would cost to add deputies to patrol I-70 again. Lt. Bill Downard said one deputy alone on I-70 isn't good because it's too far for a backup deputy to come and help should the deputy need assistance. Two deputies at a time are needed. The UHP also loses radio contact around Ghost Rock, but the county radios still work and the UHP doesn't send the troopers where they are out of radio contact. Commissioner Sitterud said in meeting with the UHP on the matter he was told that it is not their job to write tickets, but to prevent accidents. It was also noted that tickets given in Judge Steve Stream's precinct, should they be protested, have to attend court in Castle Dale and with the troopers coming from Green River that is time consuming.
Commissioner Sitterud will continue to check into the problem.
The OK was given for Sgt. Martin Wilson to hire a Local Emergency Planning Coordinator, Cynthia Grant, to help with grant writing and book keeping. The position is paid for with grants.
Annette Wells was appointed to fill the vacancy on the library board. Bill Luce was also reappointed to that board.
Commissioner Gary Kofford will be the commissioner represented on the board of the Four Corners Mental Health. Kofford is also on the state board for mental health.
Public Lands Director, Ray Petersen, requested an extension of the contract with the state history to the end of September for the rehabilitation of the Swinging Bridge.
Two-thirds of the planking will need to be replaced on the bridge to cover holes which have developed.
The lumber has to be specially cut 3 inch planks which Petersen will try to purchase locally for the project.
Libby Rasmussen was hired as a temporary employee in the economic development office.
She will assist the economic development director and also work on the economic summit planned for September.